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Posts Tagged ‘BBC’

I’ve always said it’s easier for a woman in our golden years, or silver years, because we have always had certain routines. Centuries of domestic duties, child and elder care responsibilities. Maybe it’s just my generation, but for the most part we were the gardeners and the gatherers, we kept the home fires burning. Some men do, however, take up cooking and laundering once they retire, if they don’t find themselves “consulting” on a golf course.

Our last night in Nashville, I found myself frying up some catfish and shrimp for a crowd. And although I was in pain from a fall off a step, I was happy to be useful. Having a purpose, isn’t that the raison d’etre for woman and mankind?

But for young women today, the roles are not so clearly drawn. We raised our daughters to believe they too could be President one day (say this aloud again and again please); women could bear the babies and bring home the bacon. Anything. Was. Possible. I told the Bride again and again. Books advised them to Lean IN, and maybe their pay wasn’t quite up to par, but opportunities were endless! Of course, money helps…

And wealth, a staggering amount of wealth may not bring you happiness, but it certainly helps with childcare. Strangely enough, I understand how Ivanka Trump could praise her daddy at the Berlin G20 Women’s Summit. Next to the leader of the free world, Angela Merkel, Ivanka spoke of empowering women everywhere, and said she thought the media was giving her father a bad rap. It’s not his draconian policies or paternalistic pugilistic attitude toward women, it’s the big bad media.

“He encouraged me and enabled me to thrive. I grew up in a house where there were no barriers to what I could accomplish,” Ivanka told a German panel. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39704840

She actually grew up in several houses, with many helpers, cooks and chauffeurs and a daddy who treated her like a real princess, in a tower. He left her mother when she was ten years old for a younger model and shipped her off to a boarding school five years later. Which is most likely why the German audience audibly groaned when she defended her father and her upbringing.

After all, how many women are struggling single-handedly to raise their children and put food on the table in our country? At least in Germany, parental leave is a tangible thing – 14 months of paid parental leave after having a baby, for both or even one parent… And once they go back to work? The German government is dedicated to provide childcare for its children, so that women and men can return to work. In fact, if there are no available kinder-spots, parents can actually sue the government! https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/01/german-childcare/512612/

Of all the president’s men, I am at least slightly optimistic about Ivanka. She talks a good game about empowering women, and I want to believe her. She has her father’s ear, though exactly what her role will be in the White House is anybody’s guess. Remember that FDR was born to the carriage trade, but had the courage to steer us through the Great Depression and understand the working class. Maybe Ivanka will help us pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which just passed in Nevada this March without much fanfare.

Or will Mr T, like King Lear, give away our kingdom to the highest bidders and his two sons, turning away from Cordelia/Ivanka in the end? I hope she comes back from Germany soon, to steer her aging father away from the precipice. And his Twitterfeed.

Here is Nana doing preschool pickup, #beforethefall.    IMG_0360

 

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How else can one explain what is happening in China over the last few years? Mr T Tweets at 3am, and now he’s calling the Taiwanese Prez, which is like snubbing your nose at your big (or little depending on your POV) brother or sister. Only this sibling doesn’t sleep, and could suffocate you with his or her pillow all while continuing to pollute our environment.

Remember back in February when I recommended a compelling non-fiction book about China? “Age of Ambition – Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the new China” by Evan Osnos. https://mountainmornings.net/2016/02/27/mj-fever/

If you’re not one for the long read, how about a couple of articles in this month’s Atlantic, “China’s Great Leap Backward?” Kisssinger explains China 101 and tells us how to avoid a trade war, among other things. And James Fallows tells us that freedom is even harder to find in the new China; “It has become repressive in a way that it has not been since the Cultural Revolution.”

We Americans have been asleep. We don’t want to wake to the nightmare of last month’s election, and why should we? We would rather come home from work, open a craft beer, and watch Netflix. Only the latest sci-fi series I told you about, Black Mirror, is actually coming true in China! https://mountainmornings.net/2016/10/25/feeling-twitchy/

If you need a respite from politics, and all the mud-slinging of this election, I have a Netflix show to recommend from England. “Black Mirror” (a trope to our attachment to the smart screen) is about how technology is changing the course of human history in a very scary, sinister and smart way. I’ve only seen the first few episodes of Season 1, created by Charlie Brooker, but if you are wondering where our dystopian obsession with devices is going, tune into the future.

So that’s what I said in October…and now China is creating a nightmare for its citizens with their tacit consent.

It is collecting “Social Credit Scores,” in other words, the dragon has a highly developed Big Brother with a big pillow under his head. All electronic purchasing data, social media networks, and algorithmic sorting devices are being collected to give each citizen a score between 350 and 950. This system not only monitors whether or not you could pay for your apartment. but how compliant you are politically, and what kind of spouse you might make! If you hit a score of 700+ you are allowed to travel to Singapore…

Black Mirror is no longer science fiction, it is becoming fact. The Regime can now keep a tally of any message with a mention of Tienanmen Square for example, which would not only lower your score, but those of your friends and family! All of the scores are available to everybody in China online, and strangely enough like salmon swimming furiously upstream, citizens have embraced this system.

And just like the American 12 year old I overheard bragging about how many Instagram followers she had, I am finding this brave new world frightening. After all, we have Google and Amazon and Facebook et al collecting our data, but our government isn’t quite yet in cahoots with them, is it? http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-34592186

It’s enough to make me want to crawl right back under the covers and hibernate the winter away. But first a prayer for what it’s worth, please God, let Mr T pick Romney over Giuliani for Secretary of State. We don’t need any more bulls roaming free in a China shop. Let me know when it’s time to wake up and get off the grid. From an exhibition in LA at the Broad Museum – this is Jenny Holzer 1979 – it’s strangely prescient

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While eating a burger at Bob’s flying club last week, I happened to meet a young entrepreneur. Eric Walden was all decked out in a uniform, with wings on his shoulder and his cap. Then much to my surprise, I saw him again last night on the late night local news. The anchors’ hook was something like:

“Have you ever wanted to fly like the rich and famous?”

For the vast majority of people, commercial flights are the only option, but Albemarle County pilot Eric Walden is hoping to change that by making private flights an option for people who aren’t among the richest in the world.

“There’s a whole lot of other people that have the need and the desire to travel privately, but a lot of them don’t know that it’s available,” said Walden.       http://www.newsplex.com/content/news/New-Charter-Flight-Company-379228591.html?

With expectations high for more airport delays and missed connections this summer, I’d say he started the right business at the right time. Walden owns a turbo-prop Daher TBM 850 that can carry up to five passengers. He can fly higher and faster than Bob’s Piper Arrow, and if say five people wanted to split a ride to Nantucket, the price compares favorably with commercial tickets – AND there is no time lost waiting in TSA lines!

Walden has been flying for 25 years and comes from a long line of aviators; his great-grandfather first flew a monoplane in 1909. The name of his charter flight company is Little Hawk Logistics.

And speaking of birds, I’ve had a bluebird battering my windows lately. He, or she, is staying at the back of the house for the most part, on the first floor. One day I was using Bob’s computer to do some book editing, and between the bluebird knocking and the generator recycling itself, I could barely think! In researching this problem, it seems it is male birds fighting off their reflective rival, and once a female is attracted and a nest secured the window battering should stop. Unless it’s a cardinal?!

Here are some ways to prevent this behavior:

  • Decals or paper shapes placed inside or outside the window
  • Strips of tape, plastic or paper arranged in an irregular pattern
  • Soaping the outside of the windows either fully or in a pattern
  • Placing non-reflective screen outside the window 2-3 inches from the glass
  • Adding one-way transparent film or opaque plastic to windows
  • Repositioning an outdoor plant or flower basket to block the window view
  • Closing outside shades or blinds if possible

It’s another rainy day on the Blue Ridge. In fact the headline before the story on Little Hawk Logistics was, “Rain Fifteen out of Last Seventeen Days!” I guess I am not alone in feeling like mildew is spreading at my feet and rust is clogging up my joints.

So let’s dream for a moment about the sunny future of aviation this weekend. If you’re anything like my hubby, you will love this story out of Germany. It seems they are developing the Lilium Jet, a small helicopter-like plane for private use – think The Fifth Element! It will be to aviation what the Tesla is to the auto industry.

“The company’s aircraft concept promises flight without the flight infrastructure. It will require an open space of just 225 square metres — about the size of a typical back garden — to take off and land. The Lilium Jet can cruise as far as 500km (310mi) at a very brisk 400kph (248mph), and reach an altitude of 3km (9,900ft). And it recharges overnight from a standard household outlet.” http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20160512-the-flying-machine-in-your-back-garden

Here is the Love Bug preparing to go over her Checklist for departure to CHO!

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Let’s break down the controversy around Hillary Clinton’s email debacle shall we?

But first, spoiler alert; I have just one email address and only one internet server, Century Link. Customer service seems to have not evolved since AT&T ruled the world because Century Link recently promised to boost our signal’s connectivity speed from 8 to 18 gigs (is that right, a gig? we replaced the old modem after another thunderstorm, but is it bandwidth or the router??). You can see how knowledgable I am about wifi – but a promise is a promise. And I was looking forward to instant internet gratification.

Anyway, they failed to show up twice and followed up with an automated call telling us we lived too far out in the sticks to upgrade! Thanks so much.

With just a little digging, I’d like to share what I found out about Hillary: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-31806907

A)  She only had ONE email account while she was at the State Department!

And she says her motivation for this was “convenience.” I foolishly thought she had two, one for government and one for private stuff, like planning her daughter’s wedding, which we know can drive one to drink during the day. Not me of course.

She relied on this server, home to the email address hdr22@clintonemail.com, for all her electronic correspondence – both work-related and personal – during her four years in office.
She also reportedly set up email addresses on the server for her long-time aide, Huma Abedin, and State Department Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.
She did not use, or even activate, a state.gov email account, which would have been hosted on servers owned and managed by the US government.

OK, so this server isn’t in Chappaqua, it’s in a closet in Colorado but who cares? NOBODY hacked her emails while she was in office….this bears repeating since some country DID hack the State Department and  US Postal Service’s official server after she left State in 2014. And this cyber-warfare will only get worse in the future. Forget about embarrassing Sony emails or cheating husbands on that Ashley site, we’re talking serious espionage issues here. Has anyone said a small server in a bathroom closet in Denver may be more secure than the behemoth government site? No, they jump to the conclusion that it’s less secure, but where’s the evidence?

I get wanting the convenience of just one device – she now carries about four around in her bag – and I also get that she wasn’t breaking any rules at the time. Tech rules are fluid and fast changing. After the cyber attack in November of 2014, President Obama signed into law the “…Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments, which requires government officials to forward any official correspondence to the government within 20 days. Even under this new law, however, the penalties are only administrative, not criminal.”

B)  Hillary is NOT the only person to use private email for business. It was well known that government issue Blackberry phones could not juggle different accounts at that time :

Colin Powell, secretary of state under President George W Bush, told ABC he used a personal email account while in office, including to correspond with foreign leaders.
Outside of Washington, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush relied on a private email address (jeb@jeb.org). Like Mrs Clinton, he has selected which correspondence to make public.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, also a Republican presidential aspirant, faced questions over his staff’s use of private email addresses when he was Milwaukee County executive.

C)  So what’s the problem?

She complied with the current law by forwarding all official correspondence to the correct government agency where it was automatically archived. She could not control what emails came into her account – a fact that is tying me up in knots currently as I try every morning to unsubscribe from Pottery Barn Kids and Shutterfly. Hillary sent or received 62,320 emails during her time in office, which makes my head hurt. Still a general in the US intelligence community, Charles McCullough, told Congress during the Benghazi – yes you heard it right – hearing he had sent her TWO emails that were later classified “Top Secret” – now can you decide what appears in your inbox every morning?? Go ahead, I dare you!

It’s my opinion that she is being crucified, compared to Nixon and a certain cheating general, for political reasons. When she swiped her hand at a reporter, in a gesture to indicate her annoyance and limited understanding of wiping clean a server, she was revealing a certain imperious nature. It was a “staying home and baking cookies” moment, a “let them eat cake” affectation that will bring about her downfall. She is so close. It would be a shame if she doesn’t talk directly to the American people. She was hoping this email thing would go away, like a pesky mosquito. But we all know you can lose your vision when one of those buggers bites you.

The Fog of Politics

The Fog of Politics

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Right before the Love Bug was born, I whispered to the Groom, “Don’t take your eyes off her.” And by her, I meant the baby. It was going to be a C-section, the baby was breech, and I knew the Bride would be busy on the OR table. He looked at me kinda funny, but I said with fierce determination, “Promise me!” And he stayed with the Love Bug till they rolled her out to us.

Call me crazy, and I’m sure some people do, but I’ve seen too many mistakes happen in hospitals over the years, heard about too many nearly averted catastrophes, plus you know that old superstition, which I highly believe, about medical families. I’ve talked about it before, how people will try and treat you differently in the hospital when they learn you are related to doctor so and so, or nurse what’s his name.

And my mind thinks in a kind of catastrophic way. It’s a wonder I’m not on IV anxiety medicine at all times. Bob is late for our wedding? Wringing my hands I think he must have cold feet; instead, he couldn’t find the rabbi. Maybe it has to do with my Year of Living Dangerously. I’ve always thought I was the least affected by that trauma – the death of my father followed by a devastating car accident that landed me in a foster home. The Flapper was crippled, my sister and nana were in a coma, and my brothers were on their own. I was just a baby, I had no real memories of my first year of life. But there were lasting scars, wounds you’d never see when you grow up between two families.

I didn’t want my grand daughter switched at birth!

I had those feelings when my children were born, but Bob was right there and he knew about my fear, so he kept a close eye on things. After all, we were in his hospital, he knew everybody, and the Bride’s little foot was banded and toe-printed immediately.  Here is a synopsis of the bizarre switched-at-birth story I had heard about before the Bug’s birth on “This American Life.” It happened in Wisconsin in 1951: “One of the mothers realized the mistake but chose to keep quiet. Until the day, more than 40 years later, when she decided to tell both daughters what happened. How the truth changed two families’ lives.” http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/360/switched-at-birth

And just when you think that with technology these things never happen anymore, think again. A court case has just finished up in France awarding two families 2M Euros. Because at the age of ten, one girl felt she didn’t look like her father.

The families of two French girls who were accidentally switched at birth 20 years ago have been awarded nearly €2m (£1.5m) in damages. The clinic involved in the mix-up was ordered to compensate both girls – now women – their parents and siblings.Both babies had been treated in the same incubator and were then given to the wrong parents. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31350550

This must have been a cost-saving effort, putting two babies in the same incubator. Back in Wisconsin, one mother always thought there had been a mistake, her daughter was nothing like the rest of the family. But she never spoke up.

My daughter reassured me they kept close watch when she delivered Baby Boy JH in November, with his father and a doula plus the requisite docs and nurses in the room. I was still driving and worrying but immediately felt relieved when I looked into his eyes. Plus, Grandma Ada says she knows him. I think he looks like one of her sons, or the Groom’s brother. We’re not entirely sure yet.  IMG_5254

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Something deep down in my heart that I knew to be true – even Republican women believe in a woman’s right to choose an abortion. They may not say this directly, or out loud; it’s like a Democratic Senator who may own a rifle for hunting but would never be seen holding a gun in a picture. What I didn’t count on, was the audacity of this Congress to try and slip in a bill restricting late term abortions, a procedure which constitutes 1.4% of all abortions due to education and Plan B in this country, and adding this codicil to a post 20 week abortion in the case of rape, hold on to your seats everyone:

…it’s OK ladies only IF you have reported said rape to the police!

Thank you GOP women for soundly seeing through the error of their ways. Approximately 68% of rapes are not reported to the police, and a reported 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail. Why you might ask? Because women are still not actually believed, so why bother; because some think they deserved to be raped or abused since that’s all they know, and some were impaired and so find themselves guilty a priori. For a myriad of ridiculous reasons rapes go unreported. And on college campuses it is even more nauseating.

One in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college, according to studies, many of them during their first year by someone they know. The first 15 weeks of college can be the riskiest; the group Futures Without Violence just launched “The Other Freshman 15,” a letter-writing campaign aimed at getting college and university officials to address the issue.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/09/19/seeking-to-end-rape-on-campus-wh-launches-its-on-us/

“Given control of Congress and the chance to frame an economic agenda for the middle class, the first thing Republicans do is tie themselves in knots over . . . abortion and rape,” writes the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson. Maybe the Republican Party will implode? I almost, I said almost feel sorry for Speaker John Boehner. They are not only out of touch, they are seemingly out of their minds! But thanks to those women in red who saw through their shenanigans. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-30943828

Let’s talk about climate change, and income inequality folks and leave a woman’s body up to her and her doctor. This debate is demeaning and insulting. What if the Democratic ticket had two women, two smart women leading the charge to the Hill? You know who I’m talking about. We would be unstoppable. It IS on us! images

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Have you heard of the saying, “Don’t feed the cat?” Literally it refers to the alley cat who comes to your door, meows and looks starved and miserable but cuddly too, and so you give it some food. Just a few bites of your leftover fish maybe. This would be a bad move if you don’t like or want a cat in your life, because soon enough you’ll be hauling said cat to the vet and setting up a nice, cozy bed by the fire for her. She will rule the roost; you will own a cat.

Well, I’ve been thinking about this as it relates to our country’s policy on kidnapping. Like Great Britain, we don’t pay ransoms. We are not feeding these cats so to speak. The sheer outrage over the latest beheadings of American and British citizens has caused us to once again go to war – and not with a country. With a bunch of highly organized jihadists who would like to claim a stake of sand in the desert as their own, to rule with their own biblical/koran-like laws. And the reason we say ISIS and our government says ISIL is telling.

Is it ISIS the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or is it ISIL the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant? But as we learned from reading Gertrude Bell, nomadic cultures do not have borders. They roam freely according to the season and their history – borders were artificially drawn by the British when they left their Empire to the sands of time. And so our President has tagged this terrorist group with an “L” because the Levant is more fluid and denotes their mission if you look at their name in Arabic:

In Arabic, the group is known as Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.The term “al-Sham” refers to a region stretching from southern Turkey through Syria to Egypt (also including Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan). The group’s stated goal is to restore an Islamic state, or caliphate, in this entire area. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/06/18/isis-or-isil-the-debate-over-what-to-call-iraqs-terror-group/

al-Sham is translated into English to mean the Levant. It’s sounding a little more treacherous now, isn’t it? And I remember listening to an NPR piece about how European countries may say they are not paying for their kidnapped citizens, but their diplomats negotiate deals that fund certain Islamic charities and they launder money back to terrorist groups in this subversive, back-door way. Which is why many German and French hostages have been released over the years, and our people are not.

“Since 2003, at least 68 Westerners have been kidnapped in the vast Sahara.” http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29409361 When I read this BBC article I was shocked, not just by the numbers, but also to think my BFF’s daughter had worked for the Peace Corps in Mali and lived with a Tourig family. Aid workers, tourists and journalists are pawns in this senseless slaughter. And money talks, money funds their ammunition and their “soldiers,” Western money helps them to kidnap more Western citizens.

We may not be feeding the cat, but other countries are. Two Million per person! In Africa hostages are discounted, they were asking 10M for James Foley in the Middle East, although they may have accepted 5M…

“…Ransoms totalling at least $30m (£18.3m) have been paid since 2008 in connection with these kidnappings and that the going rate for a single Western hostage in the region (Africa) is now about $2m (£1.2m). Most of these hostages were citizens of countries that are believed to have paid ransoms….at least five Spanish, four Italian, two Canadian, two Austrian, two Swiss and two German hostages have been taken. Of this group of 17, one died of natural causes in captivity and the rest were released unharmed. Nearly all of them were aid workers or tourists.

It’s not fair, terrorist groups get 30M to fund what they do best, terrorize people, which creates that insane feedback loop of more and more kidnappings. And for those who don’t pay, a beheading on Youtube. I’m not a diplomat, and I have no idea how to stop this problem, except that maybe building schools, educating girls, and providing access to water, sanitation and basic health care needs might go further than drones dropping bombs. Maybe leaving Iraq and leaving Assad to his own devices, helped to create these black/flag/waving/zealots; but certainly, now that they have advanced to the edge of Turkey, we have to do something.

I’m writing this as I gently remove my Grand Cat from my laptop. It’s a good thing I love cats.   IMG_1263

 

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